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Utilising populations of natural enemies for control of cereal aphids - AR0305

Description
Project Code: AR0305

Funded By Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Lead Research Centre
IACR-Rothamsted
Harpenden
Herts

Abstract of Research Proposal

The main aim of this project is to develop new approaches to aphid control based on the
Ecological and behavioural manipulation of naturally-occurring natural enemies.
This will prevent the development of pest problems, thereby reducing the need for
intervention with chemical pesticides to cure pest outbreaks. The work is focussed on two groups, parasitoids and entomopathogenic fungi, which have been identified, based on the results of previous research, as key elements in the natural enemy complex responsible for the natural control of aphid populations. This strategic work will underpin MAFF objectives of developing integrated pest management strategies to reduce pesticide inputs and promote more sustainable crop production systems.

The work on parasitoids will emphasize the ecological implications of behavioural manipulation using semiochemicals. Experiments will be conducted in semi-field arenas to generate data that will allow modelling techniques to predict the effects of manipulation strategies on insect population dynamics. Ways of exploiting plant indirect defence mechanisms ie the release, in response to aphid damage, of volatile signals that attract parasitoids, will be pursued by investigating genetic variability affecting this signalling process. New information on plant genetic variability influencing the plant signalling process and its effects on parasitoid efficiency will potentially lead to the production of new crop cultivars with enhanced signalling abilities.

Summary of Objectives

1. Measure aphid parasitoids responses to aphid-induced, volatile, plant signals at increasing spatial scales and under complex environmental conditions.
2. Quantify the effects of parasitoid behavioural manipulation on aphid and parasitoid population dynamics in experimental arenas.
3. Determine the level of genetic variability in crop plants affecting the plant signalling process in response to aphid damage.
4. Measure the effects of parasitoid behavioural manipulation on interactions with other aphid natural enemies.
5. Quantify the interactions between aphids and their insect and fungal natural enemies at different spatial scales and environmental conditions.
6. Determine whether host plants are involved in the mediation of aphid - predator - parasitoid - pathogen interactions.



Executive Summary of Final Report
Project not complete




Funding
£526,508

Start date: 01/04/00
Completion date: 31/03/04

Objective
The main aim of this project is to develop new approaches to aphid control based on the ecological and behavioural manipulation of naturally occurring natural enemies. The work is focused on two groups, parasitoids and entomopathogenic fungi, which have been identified as key elements in the natural enemy complex responsible for the natural control of aphid populations.
Project Documents
• Final Report : Utilising populations of natural enemies for control of cereal aphids   (381k)
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2000

To: 2004

Cost: £556,546
Contractor / Funded Organisations
Rothamsted Research (BBSRC)
Keywords
Arable Farming              
Cereal Production              
Farming              
Sustainable Production              
Fields of Study
Arable Crops